CTU voted for 10-day strike notification, yet to announce - FOX 32 News Chicago

CTU voted for 10-day strike notification, yet to announce walk-out

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A strike by Chicago Public School teachers is closer than ever, and time is quickly running out on a deal to put those teachers in their classrooms.

The delegates voted to give Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis the power to issue a 10-day walkout notice Wednesday night.

That means Lewis has until Saturday, Aug. 25 to announce a strike for pickets to be in place by the first day of school on Sept. 4.

Lewis released a statement saying in part, "We have made no decision to do so at this time."

Many parents are very anxious, because they don't know what's going to happen to their kids if the teachers do strike, because both sides could not agree on a fair contract.

Union members picketed the monthly Chicago Board of Education budget meeting Tuesday. CPS has not outlined a contingency plan, apart from the fact that they set aside $25 million for meals and non-instructional material.

Information for locations where they'll send students for instruction while teachers are on strike – if they strike – has yet to be disclosed. They might put students at libraries, or even park districts until they get the whole mess straightened out.

The union and district hit the bargaining table again Wednesday, but not many of promising signs emerged from the talks.

CTU president Karen Lewis is hoping the district and the union can come to an agreement. She spent Wednesday in 45 negotiation sessions. But they have not come up with an agreement yet.

Central issues of contention for teachers are wages, health benefits, the implementation of a longer school day and the lack of social service counselors for the kids – in a city as violent and populous as Chicago.

But a principal of school where the longer school day has taken affect said she's surprised by the union's issue with the new procedures, because things are going well at her school.

"There's no magic bullet. There's nothing that you're going to be able to do in six months or a year that's going to turn the school around," Melody Elementary School Principal Nancy Hanks said. "This isn't, ‘Lean on me.' It isn't going to be120 minutes and [snap] everything is perfect. It takes time to actually implement.

"But if you never give it that time and never actually go ahead and take the steps to implement," Hanks continued, "How do you even know with whether it will work or not?"

Lewis is said teachers who are working longer school days are complaining to union administration that they are not happy with the way it's being run.

If teachers go on strike, it would be the first teachers strike in Chicago in 25 years.

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